You know the feeling: tired, sluggish, tense, mad at yourself for whatever reason-of-the-day. We’ve all been there—maybe more often than we’d like to admit—and getting out of that rut can feel impossible when you’re in the thick of it.
We can escape the general malaise of a too-busy life and non-optimal choices, no dogmatic preaching required. Wellness isn’t about being better than someone else or becoming a health robot that consumes the ideal 6.0 micrograms of B12 a day. Feeling great is about small, attainable steps we can all take each day toward living our most vibrant life yet. Here are 10 ideas.
1. Pay attention to what you eat.
We all live so fast these days, it’s really easy to get caught up hastily wolfing down a burger and fries at our desks. But if you slow down just a little, you might realize that putting together some greens, tomato and avocado with a drizzle of olive oil actually only sets you back about five minutes, and can help you feel energetic rather than weighed-down and fried.
2. Learn about the source of your food.
From mercury in your seafood to pesticides in produce, there’s no denying that being mindful of how each element of a meal is sourced can go a long way toward helping you maximize your energy and health. Keep it simple: You don’t have to blow your budget on fish fillets at gourmet grocery stores or have a vast organic garden steps from your door. Just get to know the people or companies selling you the goods, and you’ll get a sense for what lies within.
3. Prioritize local…everything.
Why not? The key word here: priority. It doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy wines from France. It’s just about leaning toward goods that were grown or produced nearby. Fruits and vegetables taste way better when they make it from dirt to plate quickly, so in that case “local” often means more delicious—and more likely to tempt you to eat from the earth rather than the package. Produce also loses its nutritional value as it travels, so fewer miles could equal nutritional benefits for you.
4. Listen to your body.
With all the “noise” of today’s loud, screen-distracted world, staying in tune with your real physical needs has become a skill we have to hone and protect. Take the time to truly think about what your body is asking for in each moment. Asking questions of ourselves like “have I had enough water, what have I eaten and how long have I actually been staring at a screen for?” can help point out habits and patterns that effect how we feel.
5. Write down your thoughts.
Life is a hamster wheel, and you’re caught in a vicious cycle of work-worry-sleep-repeat that plays out every day, right? You can regain a sense of control by recording your insights before you go to bed. When you wake up the next morning, take a look at yesterday’s themes, and think about small, realistic changes you can make over the next 12 hours to work toward living the life you want.
6. Stay in the present.
Eckhart Tolle points out that if you’re suffering from feelings like guilt, regret or bitterness, you’re living too much in the past; if you experience anxiety, tension and fear, you’re too focused on the future. Existing in the “now” is an acknowledgement of the only reality we can control, and it’ll free you of negativity to make room for vibrancy.
7. Drink with purpose.
It’s too easy to reflexively reach for a glass of wine (or two, or three) at the end of a long, busy day. What you put in your body goes beyond your meals—how about all those drops of beverage you take in during and in between? Make sure there’s a purpose to what you drink. Unable to get through the afternoon without a caffeinated diet soda? Not so vibrant. Recognizing the need for a healthy pick-me-up at 3pm, and reaching for a healthy, minimally processed treat, like a protein shake or fruit smoothie? Shine on.
8. Get more green in your diet
Don’t freak out! No, we’re not talking about carefully measuring out two cups of broccoli that you must eat at dinner. Just get in the mindset of reaching for green when you see it. The registered dieticians we’ve talked to laud veggies not just for their nutrients (which are admittedly amazing) but also for how satisfying they are, upping the chances that we’ll all reduce our intake of processed foods along the way.
9. Set yourself up for success
Everyone’s busy. Living vibrantly might not be the easiest way, but it’s the way that offers the biggest payoff. Know that it’ll be tough, and be ready for those moments. Reconceive “convenience food” as a 100% juice stashed away in the fridge when you need it. Extra points if it’s cold-pressed using HPP, a process that preserves taste and nutrients (best for when you most need it!).
10. Understand the nature of goals.
A top secret for happiness: goals aren’t actually about achievement. It’s not about having all the little boxes checked or crossing things off your to-do list. Recognize that you’re working toward something, and take pleasure in that process. That’s life, and life is enjoyable only to the extent that you’re willing to enjoy it.